The Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, was intended to make healthcare accessible to all Americans by offering low-cost plans to low- and middle-income families and removing restrictions to coverage such as pre-existing conditions. Obamacare’s detractors, however, have criticized the program for its high costs. According to a recent report at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jimtsokanos, the cost of healthcare for individuals who are not covered through their employers is predicted to rise in 2017.
Recent statistics from the HealthCare.gov website indicate that the most popular plan is anticipated to increase in cost by more than 20% in 2017. A primary reason for this is that overall, customers have cost their insurance companies more than they paid in premiums. Consequently, some of the insurance companies that serve the marketplace are increasing premiums to offset their losses. Critics are concerned that the 2017 plans will also offer fewer choices and more restrictive networks of hospitals and providers. In addition to premiums, deductibles are also on the rise.
One of the problems that the Affordable Care Act has faced is the reluctance of many young, healthy people to enroll. Initially tax credits were successful in motivating these customers to sign on, but over time, their enrollment has dropped off. What this means for the health insurance marketplace is that the people who are enrolling have poorer health and greater healthcare needs, and there are too few healthy enrollees to offset their costs.
In order for the health insurance marketplace to work for consumers, enrollees must be willing to change plans when less expensive plans are available. This model works well for other types of products, but healthcare is different. Switching plans often entails switching hospitals and providers. For the healthiest individuals who rarely see a doctor, switching to a cheaper plan is worth the effort. But for people who are sick or deal with chronic health problems, it is not in their best interest to change from one set of providers to another on an annual basis.
While premiums and deductibles for employee plans are also predicted to increase in 2017, the increases will be much lower. Most family plans are increasing by only about 3%.